Mashatu Game Reserve and the Tuli Block
Mashatu is the largest privately owned game reserve in southern Africa, and is located in the ‘wedge’ of eastern Botswana known locally as the Tuli Enclave which lies between the Shashe (border with Zimbabwe) and Limpopo (South Africa) rivers. Affectionately know as ‘the land of the giants’, the reserve covers an area of some 90 000 acres of varied habitat including riverine forest, open plains dotted with mighty baobab trees, savannah woodland, and rocky outcrops. The area has some 600 resident elephant which are regularly seen together with lion, cheetah, leopard, impala, giraffe, kudu, eland, zebra, bushbuck and many other small species. Wild dog have recently been reintroduced. Neither buffalo nor rhino are found. The birdlife is excellent with over 360 species recorded.
The area was originally inhabited by the mystical Maphungubwe tribe in 800AD, and made famous by Frederik Courtney Selous who hunted elephant in the region during the late 1800’ and led the Pioneer Column and Zeederberg Express. Baines also passed though here on his voyagers. Archaeological sites abound including the notable Motloutse Ruins and Pitsani Koppie.
Access to the Mashatu/Tuli region is very difficult from within Botswana so the area is seldom included as part of a ‘Botswana safari’. More commonly, it forms part of a holiday to South Africa, rivalling areas such as Madikwe and the Kruger National Park.